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Anderson Cooper’s full interview with embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling aired on CNN last night, giving Sterling a platform to share his views on Magic Johnson. Sterling went after the NBA legend and Los Angeles Dodgers owner with several shocking comments, even going after Johnson for having AIDS.
In the first clips from the interview that CNN released, Sterling suggested that Johnson hasn’t done enough for minorities, but that was only the start of Sterling’s rant on Johnson. Sports Illustrated noted that he also told Cooper that Johnson should be “ashamed of himself” for having AIDS.
“What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he goes and catches HIV,” Sterling told Cooper. “Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. And what does he do for black people? He hasn’t done anything.”
Sterling said that Johnson acts “so holy,” adding, “He made love with every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him.”
He then asked himself if he thought Johnson was a good example for kids. “You know, because he has money, he’s able to treat himself. But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing,” Sterling said. “He didn’t do anything harmful to anybody and I respect him and I admire everything that he does. I’d like to help even more if he would offer me an opportunity to help. I like to help minorities.”
Sterling might have sensed that he was saying something wrong, so he called Johnson a “good person” again. But that’s when he continued and said Johnson hadn’t done enough for minorities in Los Angeles.
Johnson’s response to Sterling was to ignore him. “I'd rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling's interview,” he tweeted. “After this week, no more Sterling talk. Just the NBA Playoffs, my @Dodgers and my @LA_Sparks!”
However, as ESPN notes, Clippers coach Doc Rivers and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver were not impressed by Sterling’s CNN interview.
“I'll stand by Magic every day of the year because I've known him for a long time,” Rivers, who said he hadn’t seen the interview, told ESPN. “Having said that, I don't know what's going on out there. I tried not to get involved in that part of it right now. Whatever it is, that doesn't sound like much of an apology to me.”
“I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper, and while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack,” Silver said. Silver added that NBA Board of Governors is still going to try to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.